Last week, Syracuse got its first recruiting coup in the 2019 recruiting class, netting versatile guard Brycen Goodine. The New Bedford, Massachusetts native announced his Orange commitment with a low-key social media post, following a recruitment that also came without much of the usual fanfare.
Goodine plays at St. Andrew’s in Rhode Island, a program that has churned out former high-profile Orange players Michael Carter-Williams and Demetris Nichols. While Brycen is clearly excited to be in the Orange fold, the first thing that stands out is how humble he is. This is a kid who actually thought Syracuse was watching another recruit when the Orange staff first started scouting him.
Despite that unassuming nature, Goodine has already shown a tremendous amount of physical and mental fortitude as a high school player. Just before his freshman year, Goodine suffered a partially torn ACL of his left knee that was not diagnosed until he tore the MCL of that same knee in February that same season. Wearing a bulky knee brace the following season, Goodine helped Bishop Stang to a state title. He also turned some heads nationally with his ESPN SportsCenter Top 10-worthy dunks.
With two more years of high school ball and high-level AAU (Goodine plays for one of the best AAU programs: BABC) to get stronger and hone his craft, the 3-star rated Goodine could turn out to be a lot more than just a complimentary piece for Jim Boeheim. The Orange got a “Good” one. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
VB: You went to Syracuse’s Elite Camp in August and said you almost committed on the spot. What about that experience on campus that weekend blew you away?
BG: Just the way all the coaches were. They gave me a ton of confidence I could fit in. I just loved it. I knew that’s how they would treat me if I went there and I could imagine how it would be spending my entire college career there.
VB: Coach Gerry McNamara was your main recruiter. Could you talk about when SU and Coach G-Mac first reached out to you and how your relationship with him has developed and impacted your decision?
BG: During Peach Jam this summer, I noticed Syracuse at my game and I was kind of hyped. I just played without thinking about it because I didn’t think they were there for me. I was playing against Darius Bazley (2018 Orange commit), so I figured they were there for him but after Peach Jam we had another tournament down in Florida and Coach G-Mac was in the stands. So I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s weird.’ I still didn’t think he was there for me but he ended up texting me after one of the games. I was like, ‘No way.’ After that, for the next few weeks, he was there for every one of my games.
VB: I’m sure Coach G-Mac and Coach Boeheim gave you a recruiting pitch. How did they say you’ll fit into the Orange system?
BG: They believe they can make me one of the best guards in the country. That’s one of the reasons I chose them. They believe in me more than I believe in myself. I’m a humble person so I’m always going to think of people [ranked] higher but they said they can get me to the top and I can help them.
They compare me to Michael Carter-Williams. They like me because I’m a long, tall guard, athletic and I can shoot it a little bit.
“Coach Boeheim wants me at the one. He said I’m his point guard.”
VB: Besides your comfort with the staff, what were other factors that made you choose Syracuse? I know your grandma was a big Orange fan, did you follow or root for the program growing up?
BG: It was one of my dream schools. I even told Coach G-Mac that when they started calling me. I grew up watching Syracuse and I was probably like 11 when uncle called me and told me, ‘you need to watch Michael Carter-Williams. That’s how you need to play.’
VB: You told me you don’t like talking about yourself but I’m going to make you. Tell me more about your game. If you had to describe yourself to someone who has never seen you play, what would you say?
BG: I’m smooth and I’m long for a guard. I can shoot. I have to get stronger. I don’t get pushed around but I have to be able to finish through contact better. That comes with age too but I have to hit the weight room.
VB: You had two dunks make the SportsCenter Top 10 plays two seasons ago…
BG: [He chimed in] Yeah, that was my sophomore year. That year was tough. I had to wear a huge knee brace.
VB: Do you feel you’re all the way back with your explosiveness from the knee surgery?
BG: Probably halfway through that sophomore season I was about one hundred percent. I had to keep wearing the brace for that whole year. I wanted to throw it in the trash. Most people are scared to take it off. I couldn’t wait to get rid of it.
VB: With two more years at St. Andrew’s, did the SU staff give you some guidance on what to work on, besides getting stronger?
BG: Talking to G-Mac, he told me he wants me to be more aggressive and try to make a play every time I have the ball. He wants me to get in the paint and affect the game somehow.
VB: And defensively your length should be a factor. How do you think you’ll perform in the Syracuse 2-3 zone?
BG: I’ve played with coaches who like to switch up defenses, so I think of myself as someone who can play in any defense. And also, when I was young, I started off playing center, so I can play multiple positions as well. I started at center and made my way down to point guard and that made me better, in a sense.
VB: Do you see yourself as a wing? Has Syracuse given you an idea you could play some point guard or are they looking at you strictly as a two-guard or small forward if you grow into that role?
BG: Coach Boeheim wants me at the one. He said I’m his point guard. Probably because we’ll have Buddy [Boeheim]. He’s probably going to be the two.
VB: You really haven’t played much point guard for your high schools, right?
BG: All summer in AAU I played point guard. Before that, I did if I had to but this summer I was strictly point guard.
VB: Do you like that role or do you prefer to be on the wing?
BG: As long as I’m on the court chipping in, I’m happy.
VB: Do you have a message for Syracuse fans, who are looking forward to you wearing Orange?
BG: I couldn’t be happier to come to Syracuse and I won’t let you guys down. That’s for sure.